Monday, June 13, 2011


Coca-Cola's name is derived from the coca leaves and kola nuts used as flavoring. Coca-Cola creator John S. Pemberton changed the 'K' of kola to 'C' for the name to look better  (Pictured below is a print advertisement that appeared in several magazines in the late 1880s, when the soft drink still contained cocaine)

Two dogs survived the sinking of Titanic. They escaped on early lifeboats carrying so few people that no one objected. Miss Margaret Hays of New York brought her Pomeranian with her in lifeboat No. 7, while Henry Sleeper Harper of the publishing family boarded boat No. 3 with his Pekinese, Sun Yat Sen

In Michigan, it is illegal to chain an alligator to a fire hydrant

Adolf Hitler was fascinated by hands. In his library there was a well-thumbed book containing pictures and drawings of hands belonging to famous people throughout history. He liked particularly to show his guests how closely his own hands resembled those of Frederick the Great, one of his heroes

The Häagen-Dazs name does not represent a place or person and, contrary to common belief, the name is not European; it is simply two made-up words meant to look European to American eyes. This is known in the marketing industry as foreign branding

Queen Anne had a cross-dressing cousin, Lord Cornbury, whom she assigned to be governor of New York and New Jersey. The colonists were outraged and felt slighted  (Pictured below is a portrait commissioned by Lord Cornbury when he was governor of the two colonies in 1706)

Singing star Patsy Cline's plane crashed in 1963 on her way back to Nashville, after performing a benefit concert for the widow of disc jockey Jack Call who'd recently died in a car crash. Country singing star Jack Anglin was killed in a car crash on the way to her funeral

Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia: the fear of long words

A human baby's heart will beat about 60 million times before it is born

In England the chance of a woman having twins has doubled since World War II

In the last 50 years in the United States, the average working vocabulary of a 15 year old has decreased from 25,000 words to 10,000 words

Reno, Nevada has the highest rate of alcoholism in the U.S., while Provo, Utah, has the lowest

You have a higher chance of being killed by a donkey than dying in a plane crash

The first person to be killed in an auto accident in the United States was Henry H. Bliss, a 68-year-old real estate broker. On September 14, 1899, in New York City, Mr. Bliss stepped from a streetcar and was hit by a cab  (Pictured below is a historic site landmarker dedicated in 1999 on the 100th anniversary in New York City at 74th Street, the site of where Mr. Bliss was struck by the taxi)

In Caracas, the capital city of Venezuela, it is customary for the streets to be blocked off on Christmas eve so that the people can rollerskate to church

It is possible to drown and not die. Technically the term 'drowning' refers to the process of taking water into the lungs, not to death caused by that process

The elephant can smell water up to 3 miles away, and a dogs' nose is so sensitive that it can tell the difference between a tub of water and a tub of water with a teaspoon of salt in it

Only full-grown male crickets can chirp

A skunk will not bite and throw its scent at the same time

Cats purr at 26 cycles per second, the same as an idling diesel engine

Centipedes, or members of the class Chilopoda, always have an uneven number of pairs of walking legs, varying from 15 to more than 171 pairs. Common house centipedes (Scutigera coleoptrato) have 15 pairs of legs

New Zealand traffic officer Andy Flitton cited an unnamed speeder recently for the second time in two years--11,000 miles from the spot of the first ticket. Flitton had moved from the UK to New Zealand, and unknown to him, the motorist himself had relocated to New Zealand last year. When Flitton stopped the man in Wellington in December 2010, the motorist recognized Flitton as the one who had ticketed him on the A5 highway near London  

In November 2010, a Taiwanese factory owner accidentally dropped 200 $1,000 bills (worth about $6,600 in U.S. dollars) into an industrial shredder, turning them into confetti. Luckily, Taiwan's Justice Ministry employs a forensic handwriting analyst who excels at jigsaw puzzles on the side. Ms. Liu Hui-fen worked almost around the clock for seven days to piece together the 75 percent of each bill sufficient to make them legally exchangeable   

Tombstone, Arizona, which was the site of the legendary 1881 "Gunfight at the O.K. Corral" (made into a 1957 movie), is about 70 miles from the Tucson shopping center where a U.S. Congresswoman, a federal judge, and others were shot in January.  A Los Angeles Times dispatch later that month noted that the "Wild
West" of 1881 Tombstone had far stricter gun control than present- day Arizona. The historic gunfight occurred when the marshal (Virgil Earp, brother of Wyatt) tried to enforce the town's no-carry law against local thugs. Today, however, with few restrictions and no licenses required, virtually any Arizonan 18 or older can carry a handgun openly, and those 21 or older can carry one concealed

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